The confined space standard applies to workers who enter spaces that are not designed for continuous occupancy and are difficult to exit in the event of an emergency, such as manholes and crawl spaces.
In general, the rule requires employers to:
- Evaluate the jobsite to identify confined spaces.
- Develop a written program and permitting system for permit-required confined spaces.
- Control physical hazards and conduct monitoring for atmospheric hazards in confined spaces that are permit required.
- Provide training for confined space entrants, attendants, supervisors and emergency duties.
Builders who hire trade contractors (i.e., subcontractors) to do work in a confined space may have additional responsibilities under the new standard.
Home builders in federal OSHA jurisdictions should continue to make strides toward compliance. This NAHB overview about the confined spaces rule, and these additional resources offer some guidance that may be helpful. In addition, the association continues to negotiate with the agency to clarify the rule’s application to residential home building.
For specific questions and concerns about the rule or compliance, NAHB members should contact Rob Matuga, assistant vice president of NAHB Labor, Safety & Health, at 202-266-8507.